Time to stop kowtowing to China

My OpEd piece in today’s Observer:

What’s happening is that the delusions of decades of wishful western thinking about China are finally being exposed by the crisis in Hong Kong. These delusions took various forms over the years. First, there was the theory that since economic development required capitalism, then that would bring democracy. The Chinese said they would have one without the other, thank you very much. And they did.

Then there was the fantasy that adopting the internet would bring openness and therefore democracy. Same story. The most recent delusion is that China’s current turn towards totalitarianism is doomed because such societies stagnate and decay. Xi Jinping and his colleagues beg to differ: they believe that information technology can enable them to have total control without sclerosis. Given their track record, it’d be unwise to bet against them…

Read on.